News & Notes

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis Co-Founder Donna Oklak Interview
Donna recently spoke at the Purdue Krannert School of Management, and was interviewed by Tim Newton prior to her speech. You can see the interview here.

IndyHub Blog Post about Impact 100
President Beth Thomas discusses the opportunities for young members in a blog for IndyHub.

Impact 100 on NPR No Limits
Host John Krull, director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, talks with.Beth Thomas, Megan McGuire, and Lizzie Conkle about Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis. Beth is the current president of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis. Megan is the CEO of Ascent 121, who along with Lutheran Child and Family Services won the 2016 $100,000 grant for their program to address the issues of sex trafficking. Lizzie is a 2016 Scholarship Member and Assistant Director of Development at 100 Voices of Hope. During the hour-long program they discuss the origins of Impact 100, the impact it has had on each of the three women and on our city, and how the organization determines who receives the annual $100,000 grant. You can listen to a tape of the program by clicking this link.

Indiana Business Perspectives article: Seeing Philanthropy From the Other Side

Announcing our 2016 $100,000 Grant Winner!
Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis awarded a $100,000 grant to the IMPACT Program to Curb Runaway and Human Trafficking of Young Girls, a collaboration between Ascent 121 and Lutheran Child & Family Services, at our annual dinner June 7, 2016, at The Willows on Westfield in Indianapolis. The grant winner was announced following presentations by each finalist and a live vote by Impact 100 members. PRISM Project/Indy Fringe, Creative Classrooms Connections/Art with a Heart, and Dove Recovery House for Women at Summerlin Place each received $18,333 in residual grants.

The women of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis have now given over $1.757 million to nonprofits in the Indianapolis area. Click here for more information.

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis Receives WCGN Spotlight Award
Beth Thomas (Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis President), Terry Mumford (Vice-President) and Karen Holly (Immediate Past President) went to Charlotte, NC, for the Women’s Collective Giving and Grantmaking Network (WCGN) National Conference. During this conference Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis was awarded a WCGN Transformational Grant Spotlight award, given to celebrate grants proven to be truly transformational. Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis was recognized for the grant we gave in 2010 to Rock Steady Boxing. Our $100,000 grant was for them to move into a new facility and hire additional staff. Since then, they have grown to over 51 facilities in over 20 states and three countries.

Huffington Post Articles on Women’s Collective Giving:

Name a Philanthropist… an NPR Podcast:

Impact 100 News Coverage:


2012 News Coverage:
Wish TV IndyStyle.tv
Published : Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012, 10:51 AM EST

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is a group of ordinary women, making extraordinary gifts, $100,000 at a time. Over the past seven years, the organization has gifted an amazing $1,179,000 to 25 greater Indianapolis NFPs.

Especially during this “season of giving,” a member of this organization and/or one of the grantees could be a guest on your program to talk about the impact the organization has made on the community and why it is important (and beneficial) to give before the end of the year.


2011 News Coverage:
Indianapolis Star
Written by Brittany Shammas, 11:26 PM, Jun. 17, 2011
Women’s ‘giving circle’ pools resources to aid community

Call it the power of the purse.

Diane Pfeiffer sees it in a new pharmacy on Michigan Road that serves a very high-need population. And in a gym for people with Parkinson’s disease on East 62nd Street. Pfeiffer and a group of more than 100 women helped launch those services and several others by pooling individual donations of $1,000 for each of the past five years. Known as “giving circles,” such charitable groups are drawing women across the country to what some liken to Tupperware parties with a mission. Their social nature and high impact are the main draw for female philanthropists.

I like to think of the impact,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s difficult for organizations to get a large enough grant to really do something different or innovative, to take a new approach.” Pfeiffer is part of a group known as Impact 100, whose donations provide at least $100,000 each year to one local charity.

The Michigan Road pharmacy did not exist before it received funding from the group. The East 62nd Street gym, which helps Parkinson’s patients use boxing to fight the disease, was homeless before it was funded by Impact 100.

The visible impact brought about by the sizable grants is one of several forces drawing women into circles like Impact 100, according to Andrea Pactor, associate director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University.

About 1,000 giving circles are thought to exist in North America, and the majority are exclusively female.

While male philanthropists tend to be more transactional — for example, pulling out a checkbook when a friend asks for support in his cause — female philanthropists are more likely to want to leverage the impact and see a significant change in the community, Pactor said. “The key here is men and women philanthropists behave differently,” she said. Women have always been involved in philanthropy, but with educational barriers lifted, they now have greater access to wealth. They want to give it to their communities, but they may take longer to decide where to donate, delving further into research about the mission, cause and organization of the nonprofit.

Impact 100 is “something that is very female-focused and just a unique philanthropic endeavor,” said Deborah Thornburgh, who joined the group with her daughter, Meredith Thornburgh White.

The group is empowering in that it lets women be more confident in their giving while learning more about their communities, co-founder Donna Oklak said. “Women are coming into their assets, which they really didn’t have 10 or 15 years ago,” she said. “For me, it really is empowering to help women learn collectively in a room and make decisions.” At the same time, the group setting of the giving circles is attractive to women. “My husband used to say there were three great ways of communicating before social networking: the telegraph, the telephone and the tell-a-woman,” Pactor said. “It’s what we do, and we do it quite well.”

The members of Impact 100 range in age from the mid-20s to the mid-80s. Some have careers in medicine, law and business. Some are retired; others are stay-at-home moms. Many say they appreciate the opportunity to learn from other women. “The women are so smart,” said membership director Amy Micon. “I’m 53; it’s pretty hard by the time you’re 53 to have someone else change your mind. You become sort of set in your ways. But these women can make you change your mind.”

Since Impact 100 began awarding grants in 2006, it has awarded more than $1 million. The group has helped organizations that serve homeless students, incarcerated mothers and their children, and adults who struggle with reading.

At Horizon House, an Impact 100 grant has helped the organization more quickly and efficiently provide counseling, medical care and other services. And Impact 100 members expect the group’s influence to grow. “I pass by the Horizon House and think about the homeless people, think about the impact we’ve had,” Pfeiffer said. “That’s the kind of impact I think we will continue to have.”

Impact 100 Announces $164,000 for 2009 Grants with Additional Funding from the Lumina Foundation

Impact 100 recently received a $3,000 matching gift from the Lumina Foundation for a new Impact 100 member. Impact 100 is pleased to announce that this gift will allow the organization to grant $164,000 to local nonprofits in 2009. With the current economic environment, the donor and the board of Impact 100 agreed to add these matching funds to the 2009 grant fund because the nonprofits in our community need the dollars now. Under Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis’ new grantmaking structure, one nonprofit will receive $100,000 and four others presenting at the celebration dinner will receive $16,000 each in unrestricted funds in June of this year.

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis Raises $161,000 for Granting in 2009, Announces New Grant Making Structure to Include Operation Support Grants

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis has announced it has raised a total of $161,000 for grant making in 2009. More than 160 central Indiana women pooled their resources, each donating $1,000, to collectively make the high-impact grants in central Indiana.

Impact 100 president Donna Oklak also announced a new grant making structure. The four-year old giving circle will award one $100,000 grant as in years past, but it will distribute the remaining $61,000 to all non-winning finalists as unrestricted gifts for operating expenses.

“Our mission is to make high-impact grants,” Oklak said. “In this difficult and unpredictable economy, we can make a tremendous impact simply by providing unrestricted funding to local charities which are even more strapped for money to meet their basic operating needs.”

Operating funds are the least awarded but often the most needed kind of funding. With charitable giving expected to drop, especially from corporate and corporate foundations, the women are pleased with their ability to assist up to five organizations.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment to be an Impact 100 finalist, given the rigorous and thorough review process required,” said Karen Kennelly, Director at Katz, Sapper, Miller and the Impact 100 treasurer. “It is exciting to know that Impact 100 is now doing its part to minimize the economic burden for all five deserving finalists, rather than just one.”

Impact 100 members now will turn their attention to determining how the grant funding will be allocated. Impact 100 will accept grant proposals until January 20, 2009, in five categories; health and wellness, education, arts and culture, environment, and family.

Members then will meet in focus area committees to review proposals. The finalists in each focus area will make a presentation in June, at which time each member will cast her vote. The nonprofit with the most votes will receive the $100,000 grant. The remaining finalists will evenly split the remaining funds.

While many women lack the individual means to make a charitable gift of this magnitude, Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis allows women to collectively make an impact for the needs of the community.

In the past three years, Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis has cumulatively distributed more than $550,000 in grants to the community, with a minimum $100,000 awarded to each grantee. 2008 grant winners were Herron High School and Horizon House. Previous grantees include Indy Reads, Craine House Inc. in collaboration with Fairbanks, and Wishard Memorial Foundation for the Pecar Health Center Pharmacy.


2007 News Coverage:

Indianapolis Business Journal
November 5, 2007

Decisions, decisions – When women give, who benefits?

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the IU Center on Philanthropy is highligted in this article which reviews two local models for ways women are actively involved in raising and allocating moeny to meet community need. Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is featured as “the new kid on the block” – a women’s giving circle in the model of women-only organizations funding all types of programs, regardless of the gender of the program’s beneficiaries.

IndyStar.com Business
June 13, 2007

Impact 100 awards $102,500 grants to 2 projects

Two Indianapolis nonprofits — Indy Reads and a collaboration project — each on Tuesday received grants of $102,500 from Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis.

The group’s 205 women ponied up $1,000 each and helped screen the finalists. The collaboration project involves the John P. Craine House and the Fairbanks hospital. Acccording to Impact 100’s Web site, the program called Parenting Education and Interventions for Substance Impacted Mothers and their Children will address substance abuse issues of incarcerated women and their children.

Indy Reads will use its grant for an expansion of its a volunteer tutor training program, according to a statement from Impact 100.

Others considered for the grants were Phoenix Theatre Inc.’s social outreach program for schoolchildren; the Hoosier Heartland Resource Conservation & Development Council Inc.’s Plant a Tree, Make a Difference program; and Easter Seals Crossroads’ renovation of treatment areas used for its multi-sensory environment project.

CBS Evening News “Giving Back” – Highlights Impact 100 Austin, Texas

CBS Evening News highlighted in their segment Giving Back the growth of women’s giving circles and the success of Impact 100. Click on the link below to enjoy the video which highlights the increasing involvement of women in philanthropy and an example of an exceptional story of how Impact can make a difference in our local communities as demonstrated in Austin,Texas.

CBS News Link

IndyStar.com Business – John Ketzenberger
June 27, 2006
Philanthropy makes strides through gifts of all sizes

And the rich get richer, even when they plan to give it all away.

Warren Buffett’s gift of $37 billion to the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an astounding four times greater than the Lilly Endowment’s size.

Remember, the endowment is no small fry. It’s the nation’s fifth-largest charitable organization, with $8.4 billion in assets. It wasn’t long ago the endowment soared to the nation’s largest, thanks to the appreciation of Eli Lilly and Co. stock, which makes up the vast majority of its assets.

That won’t happen again though, and not because Lilly shares won’t appreciate. Put Buffett’s mega-donation with the Gates Foundation, and you have a charity with more than $50 billion in assets.

“Everybody’s way behind No. 1 now,” noted Lynn Heckman, a spokeswoman for Lilly Endowment.

Buffett’s donation to the Gates Foundation and four lesser grants are the talk of the philanthropic world. Gene Tempel, head of Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, was in New York Monday for the announcement.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a news day like this in philanthropy,” Tempel said.

Buffett’s gift far exceeds those of noted philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie, who, in present dollars, gave about $7 billion.

Tempel has a vested interest, too. The Gates Foundation has pumped $750,000into the Center on Philanthropy. The money will cover half the cost of the center’s 2007 and 2009 panel studies, which are comprehensive looks at how much people give to charities and why.

Charity is big business. Americans donated nearly $250 billion in 2004, according to the Giving USA Foundation. In Indiana, Lilly endowment is incredibly important. Nearly three-quarters of the $468 million the endowment gave away last year went to Indiana charities.

But big’s not the only way to achieve high impact in philanthropy. Tonight 152 Hoosier women who ponied up $1,000 each over the last year will give it all to a single charity.

“This really did resonate with a lot of women” said Kelli Norwalk, co-founder of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis.

More than half of the women who donated served on the committees that selected the five finalists who will present their projects tonight at Riverwalk Banquet Center near Broad Ripple. After the presentations, the women will vote and the winner takes all.

“The whole goal was to create a ripple effect, to educate the members of our group to go out and be more engaged,” Norwalk said.

That’s funny. Buffett told Fortune magazine something similar in an interview. It’s a point Brian Payne, head of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, makes all the time.

“I would hope that this inspires others…to be more engaged during their lifetimes so they can experience this thrill while they’re still around to enjoy it,” Payne said.

Big or small, when it comes to philanthropy it’s all about making an impact.

From The Indianapolis Business Journal
June 6-12, 2005

ibj_photo

Women’s group aims to pool philanthropic resources
High hopes for first year: two $125,000 grants to local charities
By Andrea Muirragui Davis adavis@ibj.com

By this time next year, the dozen women at the core of a new philanthropic effort hope to have found 100 or more like-minded individuals willing to open their hearts and their checkbooks to help the central Indiana community.They want to make a difference-a significant, six-figure difference in a world where progress often comes $100 at a time.

Modeled after similar initiatives in Cincinnati and Pensacola, Fla., the idea behind Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is simple enough: get 100 women to contribute $1,000 each and then make one $100,000 grant to a local charity.

Ideally, the benefits will go beyond the not-for-profit’s bottom line.

“Lives will be changed-our lives and the lives of the recipients-everyone involved,” said Kelli Norwalk, a former small-business owner who is leading the charge along with self-professed philanthropic “dabbler” Donna Oklak.

“We want to raise the tide of philanthropy,” Oklak added.

And getting women engaged in giving will do just that, they said.

“The ripple effect can be tremendous,” concurred Wendy Hushak, who founded the nation’s first Impact 100 group in Cincinnati in 2001. “Members learn about non-profits in the community and are inspired to continue giving. . When they get involved, it feels so good, they want to do more.”

Indeed, that connection is what sets socalled “giving circles” apart from more traditional check-writing philanthropy.

Members of the grassroots groups aren’t necessarily wealthy, but their pooled resources can be impressive. And the pitch-in approach lends itself well to shared decision-making, an appealing aspect for donors who want more control.

“Donors want to be involved and knowledgeable about where their money is going and who it is helping,” said Rob MacPherson, vice president of development for the Central Indiana Community Foundation. “They’re doing more than just . giving.”

Women in particular have been drawn to giving circles as they’ve gained steam nationally, according to a February study from Washington, D.C.-based New Ventures in Philanthropy, an initiative that promotes philanthropic innovations.

The study estimated at least 220 giving circles have generated $44 million for charitable causes since 2000. More than half of the groups-like Impact 100-are comprised exclusively of women.

“Women like to get together and do things,” said Sondra Shaw-Hardy, a cofounder of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, now part of the locally based Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “[Giving circles are] an outgrowth of sewing circles, book clubs, even investment clubs. . They are helping to grow women philanthropists.”

Historically, women were conditioned to support causes with volunteer hours rather than money, she said, but that trend has been changing.

“Nowadays, time is really the most valuable thing women have,” Shaw-Hardy said.

Hushak found that out when she tried to get her girlfriends involved with various charitable endeavors in Cincinnati. The stay-at-home moms couldn’t justify paying a baby sitter so they could volunteer, and the career women were too busy.

“All those women were under the radar screen, shut out of mainstream ways of giving back to the community,” she said. “They were missing out.”

Until Hushak’s brainstorm-create an organization that would allow them to help without a major time commitment.

A 12-member executive board plans to start recruiting members in October-an informal membership drive is under way-with a goal of signing up 250 women and making two $125,000 grants. But they are quick to say they don’t want members to join Impact 100 at the expense of other charitable causes.

“This should augment what they’re doing, not replace it,” Norwalk said.

CICF has signed on to advise and host the new group until it gets some experience and its own not-for-profit status.

“It’s a lot of work, managing the expectations of so many donors,” MacPherson said, and “a lot of responsibility comes with collecting and distributing $100,000.” Still, it’s a task leaders are eager to tackle.

“We can do so much more collectively than we can as individuals,” Oklak said. “There’s a real magic to giving away that much money.”

Publication: Indianapolis Business Journal; Date: Jun 6, 2005; Section: INSIDE ; Page Number: 6